Fresh speculation points to an impending release, but take it with a grain of salt

With the 50th anniversary of the glorious Datsun 240Z kicking off next year, it seems like a fantastic time to release a successor to the practically ancient Nissan 370Z, no? According to a recent report from Autocar, it’s looking like we’ll get exactly that, with the U.K. publication citing “senior officials from Nissan” as a source of details on the long-awaited next-gen sports car. Unfortunately, what we might have here is yet another round of regurgitated rumors.

Continue reading for the full story.

The Full Story

2009 - 2017 Nissan 370Z High Resolution Exterior
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We’ve been stuck with the current Nissan 370Z since 2009. Time for a new one!

Sports cars are a tough sell these days - that’s why we’ve been stuck with the current Nissan 370Z since 2009. Don’t get us wrong, this six-cylinder, front-engined, RWD fun-mobile was a fantastic little performance machine in its day, but now, nine years after its initial release, it’s just not up to snuff against the competition. We want a new one, and we want it bad.

We aren’t alone, either. Enthusiasts have been demanding a new Z for years now, but all we’ve gotten in return is a slew of special editions, many of which we feel aren’t even all that special - usually some pin stripes, new wheels, and a badge, not to mention a substantial upcharge in price to boot.

Granted, concepts like the 370Zki are kinda cool, but come on, Nissan. How about something worthy of carrying the Z nameplate that isn’t nearly a decade old?

Well, if a recent report from Autocar is to be believed, the wait might be drawing to a close. Possibly spurred by the arrival of the next-gen Toyota Supra, one of the Z’s arch rivals, Autocar says Nissan is gearing up to finally debut a successor to the 370Z.

2018 Nissan Z Exterior Exclusive Renderings Computer Renderings and Photoshop
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Possibly spurred by the arrival of the next-gen Toyota Supra, Autocar says Nissan is gearing up to finally debut a successor to the 370Z.

The outlet reports that the new sports car is known internally as the Z35, and that it could adopt the name “400Z” for production purposes. The outlet also says Nissan will show the Z in concept form by the end of the year, with sales kicking off by 2020.

Standard spec will reportedly lay down around 400 horsepower and 350 pound-feet of torque, a considerable boost compared to the 332 horsepower and 270 pound-foot of torque offered by the current Z. For reference, the 370Z is powered by a naturally aspirated, 3.7-liter V-6, also known as the VQ37VHR, which is another ancient relic by industry standards.

At the top of the heap will be a hot-to-trot Nismo version churning out an impressive 475 horsepower and 451 pound-feet of torque thanks to a high-strung, twin-turbo, 3.0-liter V-6 power plant. It’ll also use the same RWD platform as a variety of Infiniti models, such as the Inifiniti Q60. It’s also rumored that Nissan will share engine specs between the upcoming sports car and future luxury models.

2015 - 2017 Nissan 370Z Nismo High Resolution Exterior
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At the top of the heap will be a hot-to-trot Nismo version churning out 475 horsepower through an advanced AWD system.

Most interestingly, though, is that Autocar says the top-trim Z will put all that turbo muscle to the ground through an advanced AWD system.

Turbo power and four driven wheels? Sounds a whole lot like that other Nissan sports machine, the GT-R.

Autocar also says the new Z will grow considerably with the generational changeover, measuring in at 4,520 mm (178 inches) in length, 1,890 mm (74.4 inches) in width, and 1,240 mm (48.8 inches) in height. Compared to the current 370Z, which measures in at 4,240 mm (166.9 inches) in length, 1,850 mm (72.8 inches) in width, and 1,320 mm (52 inches) in height, and the new Z could be much longer, wider, and shorter than before.

Next Nissan Z Current Nissan Z
Length 4,520 mm (178 inches) 4,240 mm (166.9 inches)
Width 1,890 mm (74.4 inches) 1,850 mm (72.8 inches)
Height 1,240 mm (48.8 inches) 1,320 mm (52 inches)

The report goes on to say that the requisite Roadster version will arrive approximately one year after the hardtop version.

Finally, the outlet says we should get a sneak peak at the new Z’s styling with a fresh concept dropping at the Tokyo Motor Show in October, with a production version dropping next year at the Los Angeles Auto Show.

This is where we start to add the grains of salt.

2017 Nissan GT-R High Resolution Exterior
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This is where we start to add the grains of salt.

Questions over the validity of these sources start to get raised when you consider that the biennial Tokyo Motor Show won’t be happening again until 2019. Perhaps the report meant the Tokyo Auto Salon, the go-to event for JDM tuners and custom builds. That makes a bit more sense, but that won’t be happening again until January of 2019.

Next up, let’s examine the specs. Downsizing the engine and slapping on a turbo is probably on target here - after all, anyone sticking with natural aspiration in 2018 is gonna have a hard time meeting all those emissions and mileage standards that seem to tighten each and every year.

But AWD? The Z has always been a traditional sports car, mounting the engine in front and putting the power to the rear. Making it AWD would be like offering up a baby GT-R.

Not that we necessarily have a problem with the concept of a baby GT-R, it’s just that it doesn’t make sense for the Z.

Then there’s the huge dimensional change. We wouldn’t put it past Nissan to make the new Z bigger and more luxurious, but we certainly hope that isn’t the case. What we want from the nameplate is small, tossable, and most importantly, lightweight, all things that turbochargers, bigger measurements, and AWD tend to destroy.

Regardless, we’ve heard tons of rumors about this purported next Nissan over the past few years. We’ve heard it might go AWD before, and we’ve heard it might go hybrid, both of which we aren’t counting out of the realm of possibility.

However, the idea that we’ll get a look at it in concept form by the end of the year? That one seems a bit too far-fetched for us.

Unfortunately, it looks like we’ll have to once again hurry up and wait.

References

Nissan Z

2018 Nissan Z Exterior Exclusive Renderings Computer Renderings and Photoshop
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Read our full speculative review on the next Nissan Z.

Nissan 370Z

2009 - 2017 Nissan 370Z High Resolution Exterior
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Read our full review on the 2017 Nissan 370Z.

Nissan GT-R

2017 Nissan GT-R High Resolution Exterior
- image 670390

Read our full review on the 2017 Nissan GT-R.

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Read more Nissan news.

Source: Autocar

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